Snacks / Appetizers

Pasta E Fagioli (Pasta Fazool) (Pasta And Beans)

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Pasta E Fagioli (Pasta Fazool) (Pasta And Beans)

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Pasta e fagioli , meaning “pasta and beans”, is a traditional Italian soup, (although beansoup with pasta is served the World over, with different beans, different pasta, meats or seafood and vegetables, and of course different local names).
Like many other Italian favorites, including pizza and polenta, it started as a peasant dish, being composed of inexpensive ingredients. It is often called pasta fasul (fazool) in the United States, derived from its Neapolitan name, pasta e fasule.

Recipes for pasta e fagioli alter greatly, the only true requirement being that beans and pasta are included. Ingredients vary from region to region, town to town, restaurant to restaurant, household to household, cook to cook, and of course, also depend on available ingredients.
Pasta e fagioli is most commonly made using cannellini beansGreat Northern beans or borlotti beans, and a small variety of pasta such as elbow macaroni or ditalini. The base typically includes olive oilgarlic, minced onioncelerycarrots and often stewed tomatoes or tomato paste. Some variations omit tomatoes and instead use a broth base. Preparation may be vegetarian, or contain meat (often bacon or pancetta) or other proteins and a meat-based stock. The consistency of the dish can also differ to a wide range, with some being soupy, while others are much thicker. For instance, in Bari the dish is thicker in consistency and uses mixed pasta shapes. It also uses pancetta in the base of the sauce. Other varieties call for the beans to be passed through a food mill, giving it a stew-like consistency.
As for the version on this page, it could not be more perfect for my personal taste/texture. I prepare Pasta and beans in uncounted versions all the time, but pigs feet, pork/tomato broth, pasta and bean can hardly be topped (unless you add tripe)  🙂

P.S.
The word for “beans” varies in different Italian languages, e.g. fagioli [faˈdʒɔːli] in standard Italianfasule [faˈsuːlə] in Neapolitan, and fasola [faˈsɔːla] in Sicilian. “Pastafazoola“, a 1927 novelty song by Van and Schenck, capitalizes on the Neapolitan pronunciation in the rhyme, “Don’t be a fool, eat pasta fazool”; and the song “That’s Amore“, by Warren and Brooks (popularized by Dean Martin), includes the rhyme “When the stars make you drool, just like pasta fazool, that’s amore”.

Pls note:
Part of the above article is an excerpt from wikipedia.
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Pasta E Fagioli (Pasta Fazool) (Pasta And Beans)


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Pasta E Fagioli (Pasta Fazool) (Pasta And Beans)


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Pasta E Fagioli (Pasta Fazool) (Pasta And Beans)


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Pasta E Fagioli (Pasta Fazool) (Pasta And Beans)

 

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Preparation :
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” Phoenix Claws ” 豉汁凤爪 (Braised Chicken Feet In Fermented Black Bean Sauce)

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” Phoenix Claws ” 豉汁凤爪 (Braised Chicken Feet In Fermented Black Bean Sauce)

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JUST GET OVER IT !!!!!
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Get over the mental hurdle, that is 🙂
It might take  a little pressure and daunting from your fellow diners for you to try this wonderful snack for the first time.
But, if you love chicken skin (who doesn´t  ??? ), this dish is for you. You might even get addicted to it if you are lucky enough to eat them prepared by a knowledgable chef or home cook (Grandma knows best) 🙂 Or, easier yet, just follow my recipe.
There is a tiny bit of meat on these, but don´t bother looking for it, just suck the skin in its delicious sauce off the bone and you´re good.  There is a reason that this is one of the most-loved snacks in China and many other places in Asia. Some Latin/Caribbean countries and Islands are also hotbeds for chicken feet.
The lesson here ? – Don’t knock it before you try it !!!
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Pls note :
This is a recipe which I modified for my very own, personal taste. Follow the recipe and try it – then, if you prefer, adjust the seasoning to your own preference 🙂
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” Phoenix Claws ” 豉汁凤爪 (Braised Chicken Feet In Fermented Black Bean Sauce)

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” Phoenix Claws ” 豉汁凤爪 (Braised Chicken Feet In Fermented Black Bean Sauce)

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” Phoenix Claws ” 豉汁凤爪 (Braised Chicken Feet In Fermented Black Bean Sauce)

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” Phoenix Claws ” 豉汁凤爪 (Braised Chicken Feet In Fermented Black Bean Sauce)

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” Phoenix Claws ” 豉汁凤爪 (Braised Chicken Feet In Fermented Black Bean Sauce)

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Preparation :
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Salad “Quintana Roo” – Octopus In Salsa Verde, Iceberg, Grape Tomatoes, Red Onion & Watermelon

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Salad “Quintana Roo” – Octopus In Salsa Verde, Grape Tomatoes, Red Onion & Watermelon

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While being Area Executive Chef for Starwood in Quintana Roo Aeons ago, I’d put this salad on the menu at the pool areas of some of our hotels, and it quickly became a great hit.
While at first, the combination might seem strange, it actually works great together in the heat, together with an ice-cold beer (or a few of them) 🙂
Because I eat octopus at home quite often, this salad (or a slight variation of it) pops up at least once a month at my house.
Instead of watermelon, other suitable fruits are different types of melons, apples, pears, pomegranate seeds, and other firm and not too sweet fruits. And, of course, instead of the salsa verde, you could use any dressing/sauce you’d prefer;
Instead of the Romaine, you can use any salad you have at hand and instead of the octopus any other seafood or grilled meat. In the end, this salad hopefully serves to inspire you to get out of your salad-shell and cook exactly the version that makes you the happiest 🙂
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Salad “Quintana Roo” – Octopus In Salsa Verde, Grape Tomatoes, Red Onion & Watermelon

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Salad “Quintana Roo” – Octopus In Salsa Verde, Grape Tomatoes, Red Onion & Watermelon

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Salad “Quintana Roo” – Octopus In Salsa Verde, Grape Tomatoes, Red Onion & Watermelon

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Preparation :
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BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS # 71 – “AVOCADO KNÄCKEBRÖD”

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BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS # 71 – “AVOCADO KNÄCKEBRÖD”

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This dish once again proofs that you don´t have to be a professional chef in order to serve a wonderful, beautiful, delicious and healthy dish 🙂
Just throw together a bit of love and a few good quality ingredients, make sure that the different flavors don´t “bite” each other and there is an interesting contrast of textures and colors, and – voilà, great food in a minute, without fuss or deep pockets. And there you have it 🙂
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BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS # 71 – “AVOCADO KNÄCKEBRÖD”

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BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS # 71 – “AVOCADO KNÄCKEBRÖD”

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BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS # 71 – “AVOCADO KNÄCKEBRÖD”

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BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS # 71 – “AVOCADO KNÄCKEBRÖD”

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Preparation :
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BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS # 70 – “Smoked Salmon & Fried Eggs On Sourdough Bread”

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BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS # 70 – “Smoked Salmon & Fried Eggs On Sourdough Bread”

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Smoked salmon and eggs – what’s not to love ?
I’ll just leave it at that and throw in the pictures.
If these don´t hook you, all´s lost and you better find another passion. Food certainly is not your calling 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS # 70 – “Smoked Salmon & Fried Eggs On Sourdough Bread”

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Preparation :
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Escargots à la Bourguignonne

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Escargots À La Bourguignonne

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The garlicky butter in this dish is almost as delicious as the escargots themselves, and what better use for crusty bread than sopping up this delicious “snail butter.”
But the main event are the escargots’ tender texture and clean, woodsy flavor.
When I was an apprentice back in the mid-sixties, preparing FRESH snails was a most hated assignment, taking hours to remove the snails from the shells and then cleaning and cooking them, then cleaning and sterilizing the shells. I don’t want to go into the less than pretty details, but it was not a pleasant task and as a young kid of 14 years old I thought I would never in my life eat something as shocking as snails.
Boy, was I wrong 🙂
Nowadays snails are among my favorite appetizers in the World and I order them whenever I see them on a menu, which, sadly, becomes rarer every year. 😦
Luckily, I found that canned snails work just as well and turn this appetizer into one that can be whipped up quickly, economical, anytime. I usually buy a case online which lasts me for about a year.
Traditionally,  Escargots à la Bourguignonne  are served 6 ea or 12 ea in their shells on a special metal or porcelain dish, or, if these are not available, on a heat-proof dish covered with sea salt into which indentions the size of the shells have been pressed to avoid the shells to move or topple over and spill their butter. I would not shy off to buy these dishes for my home, plus the special tweezers to hold them and the tiny two-pronged forks to remove the snails from their shells, but the fact is 6 or 12 snails will not do it for me and the whole ritual makes no sense for me at home alone. So I always serve them in a bowl with lots of the traditional toasted bread on the side.
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snail tweezer and fork

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Escargots À La Bourguignonne

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Escargots À La Bourguignonne

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Escargots À La Bourguignonne

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Escargots À La Bourguignonne

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first bite always goes to Bella 🙂

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Preparation :
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Grilled Calamari Salad With Frisee And Israeli Couscous

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Grilled Calamari Salad With Frisee And Israeli Couscous

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While the old standby of fried calamari can be a wonderful dish, what one usually gets in a run of the mill restaurant are rubbery, underseasoned, overbreaded,  tasteless poor cousins of the real deal. On the other hand, grilling them is much easier, less labor intensive, less costly (all the frying fat) and, let’s be honest, damn near impossible to screw up by a normal person with even just a tiny bit of talent for cooking. Grilled squid/calamari are also a perfect ingredient for great green-leaves salad, fresh pasta salad, or, as featured here, a combination of both. 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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P.S.
Read about my lunch in the Key’s last Sunday at the bottom of this page 🙂
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Grilled Calamari Salad With Frisee And Israeli Couscous

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Grilled Calamari Salad With Frisee And Israeli Couscous

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Grilled Calamari Salad With Frisee And Israeli Couscous

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Grilled Calamari Salad With Frisee And Israeli Couscous

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Grilled Calamari Salad With Frisee And Israeli Couscous

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Preparation :
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This is what Florida / Miami living is all about
We want fresh seafood – let’s take a quick trip to have lunch in the Keys.
First stop Key Largo for stone crab claws appetizer at the “Key Largo Fisheries”, then on to Isla Morada for a beautiful sunset and blackened mahi mahi main course, washed down with a couple of brewsky’s while listening to live rock music right on the beach at my favorite Florida beach bar, “Loreley”.
Life is Good !
If you think seafood is cheap around here –
10 claws on paper baskets (only self service) = $ 120.00, sauce and tax extra 
Paradise sure has its price 

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Breakfast Of Champions # 69 – “Tortilla With Chorizo”

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Breakfast Of Champions # 69 – “Tortilla With Chorizo”

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Today was a very special day for me and there was a possibility that the day would not end as I had planned for the past year and a half.
Because of that and the resulting tension, I was not able to sleep last night and the night before, so by the time 7:00AM rolled around, I was up and awake since 48 hours. Having to be at an appointment at 2:PM and still in the process of setting up a few things, I realized that I needed a very substantial breakfast that would get me through the day. Not feeling like eggs or bread with nutella or marmalade, I first thought of prepping a congee which involves little prep, but then I saw some tortillas and chorizo in the fridge and decided that would be the perfect pick-me-up for the moment. It took only a few minutes to prepare, since I had some leftover salsa verde and salsa Mexicana in the fridge as well. The result was a quick, satisfying, and delicious breakfast that energized me throughout the rest of the day.
And best of all, the day ended as I hoped it would 🙂
Tonight I’ll probably (hopefully) sleep for 12 hours – at least…………….
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Breakfast Of Champions # 69 – “Tortilla With Chorizo”

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Breakfast Of Champions # 69 – “Tortilla With Spicy Pork Sausage”

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Breakfast Of Champions # 69 – “Tortilla With Chorizo”

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Breakfast Of Champions # 69 – “Tortilla With Chorizo”

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Breakfast Of Champions # 69 – “Tortilla With Chorizo”

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Preparation :
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Best ! Poached Eggs ! Ever !

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Best ! Poached Eggs ! Ever !

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Some folks will cry out about the title of this dish, and (maybe) rightfully so.
We don’t all prefer the same version of a dish, and even if we do, sometimes we long for a different rendition. So, pronouncing a dish the best is obviously very biased and only correct when applied to our own tastes and preferences.
Alas, I can truthfully say that this particular combination is my all-time favorite.
As I cut into the egg and its soft yolk mixes with the spinach and the crisp bread while the overall mild flavor gets a kick from the relish, something almost magical happens and I find the result wonderfully delicious with a flavor and texture that’s just heavenly and unique 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !

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Best ! Poached Eggs ! Ever !

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Caramelized-Onions Spinach

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Best ! Poached Eggs ! Ever !

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Preparation :
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Seafood Salad….(Worthy Of The Holidays)

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Romaine Lettuce With Shrimp, Mussels, Crab Claws, And Fruits, Dressed In Avocado Salsa

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Before I went to get some last-minute shopping done this morning, I contemplated my probable food-intake for the next two days. It downed on me that if I don’t want to gain at least 10 lbs over the holidays, I must offset the gluttony with sensible breakfasts and luncheons, so I started today with this simple and light salad;
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“Romaine Lettuce With Shrimp, Mussels, Crab Claws, And Fruits, Dressed In Avocado Salsa”
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P.S.
For seafood salads, I always like to “refresh” refrigerated seafood in a mixture of room temperature-water, lemon juice, garlic paste, kosher salt and cayenne pepper. (Keep in liquid for ten minutes)
For all hot dishes, I like to “refresh” refrigerated seafood in a mixture of room temperature-whole butter, lemon juice, garlic paste, kosher salt and cayenne pepper. (Keep in butter for ten minutes)
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Mix romaine lettuce, cucumbers and rainbow grape tomatoes with a simple honey/mustard vinaigrette, plate on serving platter.
Top with pomegranate seeds, blueberries and mango, refresh seafood according to instruction on this page.
Top with seafood.
Drizzle with avocado dressing/salsa.
Serves – well, that depends entirely on you.  🙂   (This one was just the perfect sized meal for Bella and me)
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Avocado Salsa/Dressing Recipe:
In a food processor, blend 1 cup honey/mustard vinaigrette and juice from 1 lime with meat from 1 to 2 ea Hass(Haas) Avocado (depending on size) until smooth, stir-in 1 tblsp finely chopped cilantro.
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Romaine Lettuce With Shrimp, Mussels, Crab Claws, And Fruits, Dressed In Avocado Salsa

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Romaine Lettuce With Shrimp, Mussels, Crab Claws, And Fruits, Dressed In Avocado Salsa

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Romaine Lettuce With Shrimp, Mussels, Crab Claws, And Fruits, Dressed In Avocado Salsa

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Romaine Lettuce With Shrimp, Mussels, Crab Claws, And Fruits, Dressed In Avocado Salsa

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I could eat just the salad on its own……….

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Preparation :
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P.S.
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This dish is part of my upcoming meal plan # 2 –
“HANS’ LIGHTER, HEALTHIER COMFORT FOOD”  –  MONTH TWO 
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Click here for
“HANS’ LIGHTER, HEALTHIER COMFORT FOOD”  –  MONTH ONE

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